Tag Archives: reading

Poetry Plus in Brewery Lane – Fri. 21st November 2014

Is it just me or did we not just have the October Poetry Plus night? Tempus is fugiting … The November Poetry Plus night is on Friday next, 21st at 8.15pm in Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir. There will be the usual extravagant prizes for those who take up the challenge and recite from the heart.We’ve had some stunning performances and I’m looking forward to more.

I find Ted Hughes’ explanation for the decline of learning by heart and the rise of rote learning over so many dismal decades in school very interesting. He links it to the rise of Puritanism with its attempts to eradicate imagery from all aspects of life, not only in churches and the forbidding of drama, but also the use of imagery as a memory technique. The deadening, stultifying learning by rote then became the norm. You can read the complete version of this in his introduction to ‘By Heart:101 Poems to Remember‘.

The theme for this month’s event is ‘Music’. You can read / recite in any form that appeals to you. There is a limit of two poems or short(ish) pieces of prose. If you have a song let’s hear it!

I’m tempted to read from Lavinia Greenlaw’s memoir, ‘The Importance of Music to Girls’. Now what to pair it with?


Poetry Plus – October 31st

Poetry Plus returns on Friday, 31st October, Halloween night as it happens, so you might set free your inner spook!

This is a night of words where anyone can read either two poems or short(ish) pieces of prose. It’s informal and a bit of fun. There will be a lucky dip prize for anyone who recites by heart, from the heart. More and more people are taking up this challenge, but no pressure!

Venue: Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir

Date: Friday, 31st October 2014

Time: 8.15pm

‘The release of playful imagination … releases energy’ the poet Ted Hughes said in his introduction to the book By Heart: 101 poems to remember, and that is what always happens at this event.

By Heart

Poetry Plus

The monthly Poetry Night in Brewery Lane Theatre has been running since January 2011 and it’s about to expand. Friday, 21st March 2014 will mark the start of Poetry Plus. What’s Poetry Plus? It means that in addition to poetry if you wish to read prose, tell a story or anything else related to words feel free to do that. Just keep it reasonably short! For anyone who recites a poem from memory there will be a ‘lucky dip’ prize 😉 So you might like to start memorizing your lines!

Time: 8.15pm

Venue: Brewery Lane Theatre, off Castle St., Carrick-on-Suir

Fee: None, but we do appreciate a Euro or two towards refreshments, heating & lighting


The theme for the night is ‘BATH’


What else? Tea, biscuits, chat …

Do you want to write?

Ideas Notebook

I will be starting my 8 week series of writing workshops in Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir on Saturday, 1st February 2014. This is traditionally regarded as the first day of spring – an auspicious day to sow some seeds of creativity.

As always, everyone who participates will generate fresh first drafts during the workshop. If you wish to further develop your writing and learn how to bring it to a new level there will also be the option of bringing a later draft of a manuscript for response to myself and the group. The method I use to support writers and their writing is the Amherst Writers and Artists method as developed by Pat Schneider and described in her book ‘Writing Alone and With Others’. Writers learn not only about craft but also experience the pleasure and satisfaction of writing, without damage to the creative ego of the writer.

After my workshops you should feel encouraged as a writer and always feel more like writing. Read what others have said here. If you would like to know more or to book your place please get in touch with me through the contact page.

Brewery Lane Poetry Night

Poetry Books

The monthly Poetry Nights in Brewery Lane Theatre, Carrick-on-Suir will resume on Friday next, 27th September at 8.15pm. This is a night for poems, poets and camaraderie. The format is very simple. Everyone who attends has the option to read two poems – they can be your own work or not. You might like to share a poem that is meaningful to you or one that you have just discovered, a poem that you have been working on but are unsure if it’s finished or one that you have had published. The theme for the night is ‘Food’ and you are free to interpret this in as broad a way as you wish.

For your diary the Poetry Night dates for the next few months are:

Friday, 1st November

Friday, 29th November – this will incorporate a tutorial with poet Mark Roper on preparing your poems for entering competitions. More details later.

Friday, 20th December

And in the New Year there will be preparations for the 2014 Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend, to be held on the 11th, 12th, 13th April. This will include writing workshops with Dave Lordan, a seminar with Shem Caulfield and a poetry competition judged by Richard Hayes of Waterford Institute of Technology.

Writers in the south-east and beyond will certainly be busy over the coming months …

Writing Workshop – The Molly Keane House, Ardmore, Co. Waterford

News of my next One-Day Writing Workshop

Venue: The Molly Keane House, Ardmore, Co. Waterford
Date: Sunday, 30th June 2013 from 10.30am to 5pm
Fee: €70
Molly Keane's House
‘When you lift the gate and walk down the steps into Molly Keane’s house in Ardmore you know you are coming down into a creative lair, into an eagle’s nest, into a writer’s heaven.’ poet Thomas McCarthy

I am excited at the prospect of bringing together in this workshop the influence of two special women. The first is the writer Molly Keane whose home this was and where she wrote her most famous novel, the Booker nominated ‘Good Behaviour’ and others.

Good Behaviour

Next is Pat Schneider, founder of Amherst Writers & Artists, whose books Writing Alone and With Others’ and How The Light Gets In: Writing as Spiritual Practice’, are both powerful and influential books about the importance of the process of writing. The method devised and developed by Pat informs all of my work with writers, beginners and those more experienced, and the results continue to surprise and delight me, as well as the participants, at each workshop.


During the workshop you will write in this ‘cottage hanging above Ardmore Bay’, with its stunning sea views. You will benefit from the stimulation and support of other writers in what Pat Schneider calls ‘necessary companionship’, and allow your pen to reveal that which was never really lost, but simply obscured. ‘The strangest objects were lost and found, as well as the most ordinary’ is a line from the novel Good BehaviourSo it will be with your writing.

This workshop is non genre specific – you are free to write and experiment in whatever form you wish.

If you wish to inquire about booking a place on this workshop please get in touch with me through the contact page. Below are the contact details for some local B & Bs – you might be tempted to extend your stay in Ardmore and enjoy the cliff walks and the beauty and heritage of this seaside village. 

Cush 024 94474

Summerhill 024 92682

Duncrone 024 94860

Do feel free to pass this information on to anyone you know who might be interested. 

Celebrating Writers and Writing – Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend 2013

The first Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend took place last weekend in a little theatre by the river here in Carrick-on-Suir, and it truly was a celebration of writers, writing and the place of the arts in today’s society. I think all who attended left feeling stimulated and enthused about writing, with fresh ideas and a great whoosh of creative energy. This is thanks to the inspiring input of Nuala Ní Chonchúir, Richard Hayes and Mark Roper. Here are some photos to give you just a little flavour of the event.

Ann Dempsey, happy winner

A delighted Ann Dempsey, on left, whose poem  ‘New Year Water’  won first prize in the Brewery Lane Poetry Competition, with Ann Power

Alex Innocent

Alexandria Innocent, a student of Scoil Mhuire, Greenhill, Carrick-on-Suir, who won the Junior Section of the Schools Category with her poem ‘Deep’.

Lani & Nuala

Lani O’Hanlon, whose poem ‘Moon Bowl’ was Highly Commended in the main category, chatting with Nuala Ní Chonchúir.

Richard Hayes

Richard Hayes, Head of School of Humanities, Waterford Institute of Technology, enthusiastically persuading everyone of the value of including more ‘pleasure and uselessness’ in our lives while taking us on a stimulating journey through Ovid’s ‘Metamorphoses’ via Derek Mahon and Heraclitus amongst others.

Nuala and her class

Some of the writers who joined Nuala Ní Chonchúir’s workshops on ‘Writing Winning Short Stories’ on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Lunchtime discussion

Some serious literary discussion during the lunch break on Saturday – Jessica Keane, Nora Hegarty and Mary Spillane.

At Ormond Castle

Writers absorbing some of the atmosphere at Carrick-on-Suir’s Ormond Castle on Saturday afternoon – Jean Rogers, Mary Spillane and Marie Noonan.

Mary Hanrahan

Mary Hanrahan, whose poem ‘Angel of Death’ was Highly Commended in the Emerging Poets Category

Richard Hayes with Bríd Kervick and family

Richard Hayes with poet Bríd Kervick (centre) and her family at the poetry night. (photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel)

Mary O'Gorman and Mary Hanrahan

Two poets, two Marys – Mary O’Gorman, Clonmel Writers Group and poetry winner in Listowel 2012, with Mary Hanrahan, Fethard, Co. Tipperary. (photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel)

Juno,Nuala, Richard, Mark

Nuala (and Juno) with Richard Hayes of WIT and poet Mark Roper – adjudicator of the Poetry Competition. (photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel)

Poetry Prize Winners

Poetry prize winners with adjudicator Mark Roper back left and myself back right. To my right is David Power, whose poem ‘Original Sin’ won the Emerging Poets category. Missing from this photo is Mary Cooke, whose poem ‘Trader’ was Highly Commended in the Emerging Poets Category. (photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel)

Karl Sandison

Karl Sandison from Waterford enjoying the Poetry Night

The 2 Eileens

The two Eileens – Eileen Acheson, Clonmel and Eileen Butler, Carrick-on-Suir, happy to celebrate the launch of the Writers’ Weekend. (photo courtesy of The Nationalist, Clonmel)

Ann, Margaret and Heather

Ann Mansell on the left and Heather Comerford on right who between them kept the show on the road and helped me believe all along that this weekend was possible. Now we can look towards 2014 and another stimulating event – the next Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend!

Brewery Lane Writers’ Weekend

Brewery Lane Writers' Weekend

Who’s Going to Know?

Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 50th Anniversary Edition

If you have been absent from your writing for whatever reason remember that it is fine to just begin again. As the inimitable American cookery writer Julia Child said, ‘If you drop the lamb, just pick it up. Who’s going to know?’ No agonizing, no guilt. Just pick up your pen, open your notebook … who’s going to know?

Yes, I’ve been missing from my station here for a little while, caught up in other projects that are whisper secret for the moment. One project has meant spending some time in Waterford City Library, searching through microfilms of nineteenth century editions of the local newspaper The Munster Express, looking for specific information and being wonderfully sidetracked by all sorts of  fascinating items. Most of which were, of course, entirely unrelated to my quest.

But I stayed with it, kept going and struck pay dirt on Monday last and, even though it’s not the done thing to holler and cheer in a library, I let out an excited, whispered ‘YES!!!’. And here’s three cheers for the local library service, ‘Hip, Hip, Hurrah!’, arguably one of the best uses of taxpayers’ money.

So, I haven’t been posting here for a couple of weeks, breaking all the rules of social media regarding keeping oneself visible and engaged with as many people as possible. But, as an introvert, a wee bit of quiet time in a place like a library is soul balm, refreshing, re-energizing. And I am also getting acquainted with a couple of amazing nineteenth century women!



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